Shane Winsor's journey in athletics is not your typical story. The 21-year old Boise State University student is a jump roper. To put it more accurately -- he is one of the best competitive jump ropers in the world.

It all started in grade school as an after-school activity. Fast forward 12 years and Winsor is an international champion ... and that is only the tip of the ice berg. This double-dutch machine currently holds six USA Jump Rope records and has captured multiple national and world championship medals.

"It is something that will always be there even if someone breaks it," Shane said about holding USAJR records. "[I can always say] 'I had a record once'. It's kind of nice to know that I've made a slight impact."

Winsor certainly has made an impact. Competition is only a piece of the jump roping pie for Shane. He has traveled the world advocating the sport, competing and holding exhibitions in places like Greece, France, Belgium, Canada and the Virgin Islands. He was recently voted onto the USAJR (USA Jump Rope) board of directors, which works to improve the sport and expand it across the globe.

"Basically my job is to think of ways to get people involved," Winsor said. "Our ultimate goal is the Olympics -- to get it to the Olympics. We just need more teams in different countries now. That's a big part of, not only my goal, but the organization's goal."

Winsor, a pre-med major, is one of 12 people on the board. His areas of expertise are health and outreach, which is geared towards educating athletes on how to take care of their bodies through the rigorous competition.

Shane knows all too well how demanding the sport of jump roping can be. With a thin piece of rope whizzing at over 300 revolutions per minute, jump ropers do hand stands, back flips and front rolls. While it is entertaining for spectators, it is tough on the body. That is why Winsor and his team -- the Summerwind Skippers -- don't approach competition like an after school activity anymore.

The team practices for two hours a day, four days a week. With most of their competition coming in the spring and summer months, a majority of the year is spent conditioning and doing core training. Shane said the older jumpers also spend a lot of time helping to coach the younger kids, to ensure the success of the team will carry on long after his jumping days are over.

"The first couple months of the season we spend coaching the young kids because there's new kids that join every year," Winsor said. "So we spend like two months kicking them in the butts and showing them the ropes."

Winsor said the team also spends a majority of its time doing exhibitions at various events. This year the Summerwind Skippers are scheduled at multiple BSU basketball games, as well as a halftime performance when Washington State hosts Southern California on Feb. 9.

"I like to do shows, I wouldn't say more, but it's just not as serious," Winsor said. "There is music. You can go and have a good time. The purpose is to entertain. You don't have to impress judges. You can go out there and have a good time and not worry about messing up."

Shane said he has stopped traveling to so many exhibitions in order to concentrate on school. He is also keeping his focus on preparing for the next big summer of competitions. During most years, Winsor and the Skippers will compete at Regional and National Championships. Every couple years the World Championships are held as well, which raises the steaks in the jump roping world. Winsor has competed in individual and team events at all three championships. He said both types of competition have their benefits, but he remains a team player through and through.

"I like the relay's because its more of a team thing," Winsor said. "One of the relays we've won and set a record for the last three years. That's kind of my baby."

Right now Winsor is training for the 2008 World Championships in South Africa, where he will try and defend his medals, and his records. At the 2006 World Championships in Toronto, the Summerwind Skippers took first place in the team category. Following the team's success, former Governor of Idaho Jim Risch proclaimed Dec. 18, 2006 Summerwind Skipper Recognition Week; an honor that few can say they've been bestowed.

"That was cool," Winsor said. "We all got to go down to City Hall and do a demo. It's pretty cool."

When his competition days are over, Winsor said he plans to continue being involved with the sport. Whether it is through coaching or serving with the USAJR, it is safe to say that he made the right decision to choose jump roping for his after school activity.

"When I started jump rope I never thought it would turn into what it has," Shane said. "I wouldn't have had the opportunities to go anywhere that I have or do any of this [without jump rope]."

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